Advertising Online – You Can’t Afford Not To. "Part 1"

By: , September 18, 2007 | Marketing & Design Articles

Kevin Godbee discusses one of the most commonly asked questions from webmasters: “How do I get traffic to my site?” This 2-part article covers getting traffic through an investment in online advertising.

By Kevin Godbee | © | Reprint by permission only.

Making the most of your advertising investment on the Internet
One of the most commonly asked questions from webmasters is, “how do I get traffic to my site?” There are several ways. This is a 2-part article that will cover getting traffic through an investment in online advertising.

Notice that we used the word “investment”. Most marketing and advertising professionals consider advertising expenditures as an investment rather than a cost of doing business. If done correctly, you’ll see a long-term return on your investment.

When formulating an advertising plan, there's much more to consider than price alone. There are several variables that will determine the success or failure of your ad campaign.

Part one of this article will take you through the first four of the following 8-steps for making the most of your investment in online advertising.

1. Finding sites to place your advertising.
2. Determining if the site has the right environment and audience.
3. Analyzing and cross-referencing traffic stats and looking at Alexa rankings.
4. Reviewing ad rates. Flat monthly fees, CPM, CPC, PPC and CPA.
5. Making Contact with the Publisher.
6. Negotiating a deal.
7. Creatives – Banner Sizes, Text Links, Advertorials.
8. Measuring ROI.

Before we get started, you will need the Google and Alexa toolbars installed on your browser to follow along as we go through some of the above steps. It should take just 5 minutes to install both of them. For the Google toolbar, go to: For the Alexa toolbar, go to:

Finding sites to place your advertising:
To find sites to place your ads, you can ask others for recommendations, query the search engines, find where your competition is advertising, review publisher / advertiser networks, or utilize an ad agency and/or media buying company.

Ask for recommendations
If you have friends or associates in the business, you should ask them about their online advertising experiences, both good and bad. The webmaster message boards can be friendly and helpful. Check out:

Query the Search Engines
Search Yahoo, Google and MSN, the three largest search engine / directory sites. Search on keywords that relate to your site. You may find sites that are complimentary to yours, with a similar audience, but not necessarily direct competitors. These may be good sites to advertise on.

Find Where Your Competition is Advertising
While browsing the search engines, you may also find some of your competitors. Save the URLs of these sites, and try to find where they’re running ads. The Google Toolbar may help with this. Go to your competitor’s site. On the Google Toolbar, there is a drop-down box labeled with the letter “i” in a blue circle. Click this and choose “Backward Links”. This will show other sites that are linking to this site. Some of these may be potential places to run your ads. Others may be sites to exchange links with. (Exchanging links is another subject for another article. You don’t want to exchange with just anybody).

Review Publisher/Advertiser Networks
There are sites that aggregate buying and selling of ads. You can go to one site and place orders for ads to appear on several sites. They usually provide stats for your campaigns, which is good, but you should maintain your own tracking as well. lists mainstream and adult sites that have ad space available.

Ad Agency / Media Buying Companies
Using a media buyer can be beneficial. They can receive discounts for buying in bulk, and already know where to place your ads. is a well-respected company operating in the adult arena.

Determining if the site has the right environment and audience
Now that you have a list of potential sites to advertise on, you should spend time surfing through each site to determine if they have the right environment for your ads to be effective.

This can be more intuitive than scientific. You should look at the site’s content, navigation, ads, and the “feel” and “attitude” of the site. Does it seem like a fit with your site? If you have an “edgy” site, then you should fit well advertising on another edgy site. If you have a professional business site, then you will fit well with other business sites.

Is your competition advertising there? If so, perhaps you should too. Are there certain areas of the site you would naturally fit into? For example, the site may have a news section, and you have a site with the theme of naked newswomen. (As of this writing is available.) Or perhaps they have a section about alcoholic drinks with drink recipes, and you own the site

Are the ads placed prominently so surfers will see them? Ads integrated with content are more effective than a page full of banners.

Analyzing and cross-referencing traffic stats and looking at Alexa rankings.
Two of the main goals of advertising are 1) to get traffic to your site and 2) branding.

Traffic to your site results from clicks on your ad. Branding results from impressions in front of the target audience. Neither of these goals can be met if the site you are advertising on does not have traffic.

Some sites have a “media kit” that you can download in a .pdf format. If they do not have a media kit, see if their stats are published on their site, or request to have them sent. If you cannot get this information, that is a strong reason to cross the site off your list of potential media.

Look at the amount of unique visitors, pages views and the session time. This will give an indication of how many people visit the site, how many pages each person looks at and how long they stay on the site. The higher these numbers are the better. As you look at stats from different sites, you should chart them to compare their stats and notice the correlation between stats and ad rates.

Look at the site’s Alexa ranking. On the Alexa toolbar, look to the right of the “Info” button. In the center of the toolbar you will see a number. If you look at this number while on Yahoo, the number will be 1. According to Alexa’s measurement, Yahoo is the number one site based on having the most traffic. The lower the Alexa number, the more traffic the site has.

You can judge a site’s traffic based on the following chart.

Alexa Ranking   Author’s Rating
100,000+   Not so impressive. They should be buying advertising rather than selling it.
50,000-100,000   Good
20,000-50,000   Very Good
10,000-20,000   Excellent
5,000-10,000   Super Excellent
lower than 5000   If you have the budget, make sure your site converts and your hosting plan can handle the traffic you’ll get.


You will also notice a correlation between a site’s traffic stats and Alexa ranking. Alexa can help you decide if the stats of a site are being misrepresented. It is important to realize that Alexa’s numbers will not match exactly with different sites that have the same amount of traffic, but it will be close, and give an indication if the stats are true or exaggerated.

For example, a site with 5000 unique visitors per day can have an Alexa ranking between 10,000-16,000. This is not a hard and fast rule, but you will know something is wrong if a site claims to have 5000 unique visitors per day and their Alexa ranking is 1,526,428. They are most likely providing exaggerated stats. Of course, you will not want to invest your ad dollars with them.

Reviewing ad rates. Flat monthly fees, CPM, CPC, PPC and CPA.
There are a variety of methods for the pricing of advertising online. A flat monthly fee is how print publications charge for advertising, as well as many web sites. You pay “x” amount of dollars per month to have your ad displayed.

CPM stands for Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions. An ad rate of $10CPM means that you are charged $0.01 for each impression. Ads priced in this manner are usually sold in minimum increments of impressions. For example, 50,000 impressions would cost $500 based on the above example of $10CPM. The site may have a minimum purchase of 50,000 impressions. Of course, these numbers will vary depending on the web site.

CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click. In this pricing model, the cost of the ad is calculated based on how many times your banner is clicked. You purchase a minimum amount of clicks. Your banner stays in place until all the clicks you purchased are delivered. A CPC rate of $0.01 per click, staying with our minimum purchase of $500, would result in 5000 clicks on your banner.

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click. The difference between PPC and CPC is that PPC is tied to search results on a search directory site. Two of the most popular in the adult arena are and

To advertise with a PPC Search Engine, you open an account and make a minimum deposit of $25. Then you bid a monetary amount for a click for different key word phrases. The search results are displayed in descending order with the highest bidder at the top. Your account balance is adjusted each time your link is clicked.

CPA stands for Cost-Per-Acquisition. The word acquisition means that you acquired a customer by making a sale. When you pay for advertising on a CPA basis, you are paying either a fixed amount, or percentage each time you make a sale. The author considers CPA another name for an affiliate, or rev-share program since the ad goes up on the site and is only paid for when a sale is made. High-quality, high traffic sites rarely offer prime advertising space on a CPA basis.

We will conclude part one of our article, and leave you with some “homework” to prepare yourself for part two. Use the above steps to start building a list of potential sites to advertise with. List their rates and come up with a budget. Make your preliminary decisions for which sites you want to advertise on. Hold on to your list and read part two of this article before you invest your money.

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